Balochistan Conflict - Essay

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  • Topic: Balochistan, Pakistan, Baloch people
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Baluchistan conflict

The Government of Pakistan over Baluchistan, the country's largest province. Recently, separatists have also clashed with Islamic Republic of Iran over its respective Baloch region, which borders Pakistan. Shortly after Pakistan's creation in 1947, the Army of the Islamic Republic had to subdue insurgents based in Kalat who rejected the King of Kalat decision to accede to Pakistan, reminiscent of the Indian Army's operation in the Principality state of Hyderabad. The movement gained momentum during the 1960s, and amid consistent political disorder, the government ordered a military operation into the region in 1973, assisted by Iran, and inflicted heavy casualties on the separatists. The movement was largely quelled after the imposition of martial law in 1977, after which Baluchistan witnessed significant development. After insurgency groups again mushroomed in the 1990s and 2000s, the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the war in North-West Pakistan exacerbated the conflict, most recently manifested in the killings of non-Baloch settlers in the province by separatists since 2006.

Background:-

1. First conflict 1948 (led by Prince Abdul Karim Khan)

In April 1948, Baloch nationalists claim that the central government sent the Pakistan army, which allegedly forced Mir Ahmed Yar Khan to give up his state, Kalat. Kalat was a landlocked British protectorate that comprised roughly 22%–23% of Baluchistan. Mir Ahmed Yar Khan signed an accession agreement ending Kalat's de facto independence. His brother, Prince Abdul Karim Khan, was a powerful governor of a section of Kalat, a position that he was removed from after accession. He decided to initiate an insurgency against Pakistan. On the night of May 16, 1948 Prince Abdul Karim Khan initiated a separatist movement against the Pakistani government. He conducted guerrilla warfare based in Afghanistan against the Pakistan army.

2. Second conflict 1958–59 (led by Nawab Nowroz Khan)

Nawab Nowroz Khan took up arms in resistance to the One Unit policy, which decreased government represenation for tribal leaders. He and his followers started a guerrilla war against Pakistan. Nowroz Khan and his followers were charged with treason and arrested and confined in Hyderabad jail. Five of his family members (sons and nephews) were subsequently hanged under charges of aiding murder of Pakistani troops and treason. Nawab Nowroz Khan later died in captivity.

3. Third conflict 1963–69 (led by Nawab Khair Baksh Marri)

After the second conflict, the Federal government sent the Army to build new military bases in the key conflict areas of Baluchistan in order to resist further chaos. Nawab Khair Baksh marri appointed an unknow shero marri to lead like-minded militants in guerrilla warfare by creating their own insurgent bases spread out over 45,000 miles (72,000 km) of land, from the Mengal tribal area in the south to the Marri and Bugti tribal areas in the north. Their goal was to force Pakistan to share revenue generated from the Sui gas fields with the tribal leaders. The insurgents bombed railway tracks and ambushed convoys. The Army retaliated by destroying vast areas of the Marri tribe's land. This insurgency ended in 1969 and the Baloch separatists agreed to a ceasefire. Yahya Khan abolished the "One Unit" policy. This eventually led to the recognition of Baluchistan as the fourth province of West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) in 1970, containing all the Baluchistani princely states, the High Commissioners Province and Gwadar, an 800 km2 coastal area purchased by the Pakistani Government from Oman.

4. Fourth conflict 1973–77 (led by Nawab Khair Baksh Marri)

Citing treason, President Bhutto dismissed the provincial governments of Baluchistan and NWFP and imposed martial law in those provinces. Dismissal of the provincial governments led to armed insurgency. Khair Bakhsh Marri formed the Baluchistan People’s Liberation Front (BPLF), which led...
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